Flashcards in Felony-Murder Rule (common Law) Deck (11):
one is guilty of murder if death results from conduct during commission or attempted commission of any felony.
Felony-Murder Rule (common Law)
Imposes liability for murder based on culpability required for underlying felony without separate proof of culpability with regard to death.
killing can be done negligently or even accidentally
Deter felons from committing felonies in violent manner
-For felony murder rule to operate, homicide must occur within the res gestae (things done to commit) the felony.
-Res gestae of felony continues after commission of crime while felon flees scene until she reaches place of temporary safety.
-Must be causal connection between felony & death.
Res Gestae Requirment
No serious empirical evidence to support deterrence.
In many cases, rule unnecessary. (Another form of malice aforethought is provable.)
In few cases where rule is needed, likely perpetrator did not expect anyone to die and could not be deterred.
Utilitarian Argument Against Rule
When applied to accidental homicides, results in disproportional punishment.
Intent to commit a felony transferred to homicide, which is unfair.
Retributive Argument Against Rule
Rational classification and proportional grading of offenses
Condemnation – reaffirming the sanctity of human life
Clear definition of offenses and sentence consequences
Optimal allocation of criminal justice resources
Minimization of utility of perjury
Justification for Rule
Many states limit rule to killings that arise during commission of inherently dangerous felonies.
Inherently Dangerous Felony-Murder Limitation
Some courts consider felony in abstract (ignoring facts of case and looking at definition of crime); ask whether felony, by its nature, cannot be committed without creating substantial risk that someone will be killed. i.e., only if felony, as defined, always (no matter how committed) creates substantial risk of death.